Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This could solve a lot of problems...

Ever since he blew out his knee his rookie season, people are saying that the Minnesota Twins move catcher Joe Mauer to first base. Of course, with Justin Morneau, that's not an option. You're not going to fire your hometown star player's best friend and give him his old job. That wouldn't end well.

If you're seriously going to move Joe from behind the plate, put him at 3rd. He played it in high school, and the Twins haven't had a real third baseman since Corey Koskie. You could solve everyone's problems. Keep Justin at first, get a power-hitting third baseman, keep Cuddyer in right, Kubel DH'ing. Just do it already.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Two birds with one stone

After watching large portions of it over the last week, I have decided that Jerry Maguire IS NOT a football movie.

However, I will add it to my list of good Tom Cruise movies. That brings the total to 3.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I wish I could grow (and shed) my facial hair at will. Just instantly grow a goatee or mutton chops. Then as soon as I was bored of it or needed to clean myself up for a special occasion, POOF!! All gone. No more shaving, no more itchiness when it grows in, none of that. So nice...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What does it all mean?

Had another rough night last night...

Woke up around 3 AM, and I was having this strange dream where I was trying to write a jingle for a TV commercial. I think it was for some kind of department store, like a Macy's or a JCPenney's. The lyrics for the song were kinda absurd, but the only line I remember is "from oversocks to overclocks" (it was the last line I thought of before I awoke).

I know what overclocking is, I'm a tech geek. But oversocks? Are those bigger socks that go over your normal socks? Are they shoe-like? Am I overthinking this? (Yes, but that's not the point...)

So I got up to get a drink, but all I had was Pepsi. I didn't go buy groceries last night because I didn't feel like it. Some milk really woulda hit the spot... Pepsi did not. Wasn't cold enough and kinda flat (it was in a 2-liter bottle, about half full, opened over the past weekend).

After my less-than-refreshing refreshment, I went back to bed. Then I started thinking about this idea I had for a Beavis and Butt-Head episode where Butt-Head was a contestant on Jeopardy! I wondered what happened to the Word document I was typing up for that...

Anywho, I musta fallen asleep pretty quickly, since I don't remember the music stopping on my iPod alarm clock.

Did I stay asleep? Nope. I think I woke up once or twice more, around 5 and 6 AM. Suck.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Friday, September 18, 2009

If This Is It...

Please let me know.

It's been roughly 100 hours since this Facebook experiment began. And so far, I'm not all that impressed.

Regular readers of my blog (which consists of me, and that's about it) know I had some concerns about using these social networking websites. I'm starting to think I was right...

Of course, you're probably sitting there and thinking "You've been on Facebook for 4 days, Paul. What did you think was gonna happen?" Let me walk you through it.

I sign up on Monday night. Using nothing but my first and last name, it found 8 friends for me right off the bat. I'm thinking, "How did it know who my friends would be? Something doesn't seem right about that. Something doesn't FEEL right about that..."

And they came from a few different "generations" of friends (a generation of friends is defined as the circle I was a part of during a significant historical period of my life; e.g. my NDSU friends, my Service Center friends, my high school friends, etc.). One appeared to be someone I knew from my last summer in the Marshall Islands 6 years ago and haven't seen or even spoken to since (I did not confirm this by sending that person a friend request, but I never felt like we were friends, even though we had a few mutual friends). A couple were names I didn't even recognize (I didn't even bother with friending them, because I would expect they'd have same reaction). But there were a couple of real, actual friends from my NDSU and Service Center generations, too.

Then I filled out some information about myself and saw names of people who disappeared from my life after I moved onto the next social circle. From all generations of friends, going back to high school. This concerned me as well. Not because they were on Facebook, but I felt like I'd be falling into a trap of spending numerous hours tracking them all down (I've been resisting the urge to whip out my high school yearbooks and Googling them for months now).

I've been posting a little something every day since Monday. My dear friend Sandy (Sandy, if you're out there, I mean that) made a typical Sandy-esque comment about my Facebook concerns, then we fired a couple shots back at each other. Since then? No comments on anything. I posted a link to a funny video, a couple of my recent blog posts, and some status updates. No comments. Do I need to make a first move here? I thought I did that already with some of my comments to my friends. It could be the "lack" of friends so far (as of this moment, I'm only up to 24).

Slightly more concerning, I'm not seeing regular updates from nearly any of them either. A majority of what I'm seeing is updates from a few friends on the progress they're making in their Facebook games. Is that all you're gonna post? I know when I was playing World of Warcraft, anyone who wasn't playing it with me didn't care how I was working my way through Azeroth. What else are you up to? Pics? Stories? Blog posts? Links? Anything?

Maybe I need to go find more friends. There are a number of suggestions from Facebook as to who could be my friends (for the most part, the list was quasi-accurate; a better term for those people would be acquientences). Some of them, I'm waiting for them to make the first move (lame, I know, trying to judge how much I really mean to these people by seeing if they friend me on Facebook).

Then again, one person came out of DEEP left field to be my friend. Someone I wasn't ever expecting to hear from ever again in my entire life. Someone I just wrote off 4-5 years ago. Someone I had a huge crush on as I was wrapping up my education at NDSU. Someone that gave me a very disturbing dream a few years back because of that. I wasn't sure how to respond. I've moved on from my issues with her, and she's married now (it appears). I accepted the friend request, but... I don't know... The initial shock of seeing her and her request has since worn off, so I guess it's a moot point now.

Not all of Facebook has been bad so far. I was able to find a way to import my blog posts. Pretty happy about that. One of the big reasons I signed up; I wanted more readers. I was able to lock down my profile, which is kinda ironic, since for the most part, I don't care the personal information about myself on the Internet. But I've got this small concern that someone on Facebook will see me say something that makes me a dick, and respond as such. I also don't want my co-workers to find me (sorry, almost all of them are customers, even the ones I am on very friendly terms with). I'm not spending every waking moment on it either. I don't check Facebook at work, and when I get home, I open it in my web browser and leave it open. Kind of like leaving the TV on in the background.

I think we can all agree it's probably too early to pass judgement on Facebook. We'll see what happens. Hopefully, there's more to it than this. But if this is it... what was the point to begin with?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Drummin' it up

It's been one week. One freakin' week, since I got my drum pads back from EA. And they're already fallin' apart. ONE WEEK!!

The red pad is bubbling up, just like it did before I opened my RMA with EA. One week of playing on Medium "accomplished" the same thing that 5-6 weeks of Easy did.

You certaintly do get what you pay for...

This time, I'll let it come completely off, then reglue it myself. Until then, I'll continue to improve my skills, kill my right wrist and elbow, and have a good time.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back to normal... relatively speaking...

I think my The Donnas obsession has runs its course. This was just a temporary thing. Sure, I still want them to come to Fargo or the Twin Cities, and I'd like to meet them, and I really like their music, and I need to buy their CD's, and I want to make a pass at one or more of them...

Well, the point is, I'm not CONSTANTLY thinking about them anymore. Got other things on my mind. Moving to the Twin Cities. Today. Using Facebook, despite my concerns. Drumming in Rock Band 2. Fantasy Baseball.

Back to as much of my normal self as I ever was. And you know, I'm pretty content about it. Almost happy, even. I think I'm gonna be... OK.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

This is even worse than I thought...

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know the issues I've had after I got my Rock Band 2 set for my Wii. I knew it would be coming as soon as I got that game. What it would have led to, I did not expect. I couldn't have prepared for it. I was doomed to fall so far, and there was nothing I could do about it.

I wish it would have been something simple, like getting addicted to Heroin Hero. This is way worse. Here's how it all went down...

On July 9th, I posted this after I got my first full clear (100% Flawless performance) playing drums in RB2. Yes, it was on Easy difficulty. "So what? Big deal." At the time, I was pretty impressed with myself. Pleased with my performance. Thinking I would be moving onto bigger and better things (read: higher difficulties). Over the next month, I did it at least 10 more times (that I can prove with photographic evidence, some additional ones were done during multi-song sets, so I could not confirm it like you can at the end of set).

In early August, I was starting to get concerns that my drum set was falling apart. My red drum pad was starting to bubble, becoming unglued from the apparatus. Concerned it might affect my performance and cheat me out of further full clears, I did a bit of research to find out how I could fix it, but considering it would require disassembly, thereby voiding my warranty, I decided against it.

About this same time, I was starting to move up to Medium difficulty. I was using the Drum Trainer, in addition to playing songs, to get used to the increased hand and foot coordination required to play at that level. The first song I played at Medium was "Today" by The Smashing Pumpkins. At the time, it was my favorite song of the moment (FSotM). I did pretty well. I scored 97% for a tier-2 drum song. I was happy.

A day later, my drum pedal broke. Suck. "Well, since my pedal is broken, I might as well get the whole thing repaired/replaced." I called EA. Although I never bought my Rock Band gear, the support rep. I spoke to on the phone was kind enough to speak to his supervisor and create a couple of RMA's to resolve my issues (Lots of love to you, Alan, if you're out there reading this). One for the pedal, one for the pads. A week to get two empty boxes to send them in, another to get replacements back from EA. "I can live without my drum set for two weeks. I can sing or play guitar while I wait."

I could not play guitar (and I doubt I ever will with any proficiency). I could sing. Singing in Rock Band, in your living room, by yourself, is BORING!! Tried it for a day or two and stopped. Even after I redeemed some instant wins for downloadable content (additional songs) from Pepsi/Yahoo!/Rock Band's promotion. "Great. Well, it's only a couple of weeks, I can wait. I'll find other things to do."

Wrong again. A few days later, I lifted my self-imposed ban on Tuesday night hockey due to my back problems. But a week later, they came back. To help ensure I would be in good enough shape to play in the upcoming winter and the Novice Hockey League in Fargo, I would stop playing for the summer. I got in some rounds of golf, but golfing by yourself isn't very fulfilling (for me, golf has always been a social engagement first, and a fun game second). I tried calling friends to hang with, but I was having issues with that too. Greg and his wife just had a kid. Jason and his wife were expecting twins. Paul didn't have any energy to do anything after working at his own fencing business at the end of day. Casey is busy with his dental practice, his new gas station, and hanging out at his lake place. Jeff moved to Iowa in May. And I'm not really friends with anyone at work (sorry if you work with me, but I can't get on beyond the customer-support tech relationship with you). I worked on my website a bit, but since I was doing menial, tedious tasks, and not development, I got bored very quickly. Worked on my PC's a bit, compiling complete lists of all my hardware. I completed that project.

With each day that passed, spending time at work, prepping for our IT audit (and then actually going through it), I was growing more and more anxious to have my drums back. I wanted that to be my release at the end of the day.

After two weeks and no drum pads, I called EA, looking for an update. The second support rep. told me to wait another week, then call again if I hadn't received them. Running additional salt into the wound, I got a new pedal a week after I opened RMA's with Electronic Arts. A drum pedal with no pads; real useful...

I started hunting for more outlets for my drumlessness. Music-related stuff. Ordered some more CD's, some containing my favorite RB2 songs. Also redeemed some My Coke Reward points for Rhapsody credit, which became even more songs to listen too. After I got all that music, I researched more songs and albums to purchase. Rebuilt my shopping lists.

Then, it happened. This past weekend (8/28-8/30), I just could not take it anymore. I needed a stronger RB2 fix. I searched for full drum clears in RB2 on YouTube. I found one that I just got hooked on, and it spiraled out of control from there...

"New Kid in School" by The Donnas.

The same song I had "performed" for my first drum clear in RB2. I spent the rest of that weekend entranced by those four sirens. Singer Brett Anderson. Drummer Torry Castellano. Bassist Maya Ford. Guitarist Allison Robertson.

Before we continue, let's get one thing straight. This is NOT (and I repeat, NOT) just because they are attractive young women (despite what you may believe to be evidence to the contrary). It goes WAY beyond that.

Ever since that weekend, I can't stop listening to clips of their last four albums. I can't stop watching their music videos. I can't stop checking out their website, or their Facebook pages, or their YouTube channel. Google search after Google search for articles, interviews, fan sites, photos, both as a group and individually. Downloading videos from their "official" media site (look, that site may be violating IP laws, but if you're linking to it from your official MySpace page, you've given it your blessing and I can download as many videos as I want from it without repercussions). I can't sleep. I can't eat. I can't stop thinking about them. I need to see them. I need to meet them. I want them to be my friends, and I want to be their friend too.

After that weekend, I still had no drum pads, so I called EA for the third time. They created a new RMA to send me pads, which I should have next week. It didn't fix my problem NOW. Although we just finished our IT audit on the 28th, before my weekend of descent into Donnaholism, I'm still struggling to get caught up at work, and each night this past week, the girls have been my comfort system after a stressful day. Spend an hour on the 'net with them, and I'm OK. Good enough to help me wind down for the evening, smile, and forget about work. Spend a few more obsessing over them, and I'm fucked...

What am I gonna do? I've tried to rationalize this. I've been down this road before. A little more than 5 years ago, Weezer released Video Capture Device, a DVD of their music videos and other rare footage of the band in the 90's and early 00's, and they became my favorite band FOR LIFE. But something about this feels a little different... And I can't put my finger on it... I don't know if it's because I'm older. Or if it's because Weezer are guys and The Donnas are girls. Or if it's much worse (I won't go into details because it scares me, and it would likely scare you too)...

I've spoke to a few friends about it. It's helped a little bit. To the point that we were making jokes about it last night at dinner. I'll have my drum pads back in a couple days, so I can continue drumming in RB2. Maybe after I get back into my old habits, this most recent obsession of mine will pass. I hope it can, because I don't know what to do next if it doesn't...

Damn you, Pandora...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I never thought of it that way

I was talking to my good friend Travis last night. We were arguing over MySpace/Facebook/Twitter (or, as I will refer it as a collective unit from now on, MyTwitFace).

He convinced me it may not be as stupid and worthless as I thought. I still have doubts, but I'm more willing to give it a shot.

I was worried that signing up for MyTwitFace would make me a hypocrite (rant here). But he brought up an excellent point (like he almost always does)...

"Changing your opinion based on new information isn't hypocrisy, it's wisdom."

Makes me less worried about becoming a biter if/when I do sign up for MyTwitFace.

My next biggest concern is how to port my existing data over. I want to continue to maintain my blog here on Blogger, but have it appear on MyTwitFace. Same for the pics on my website.

In other words, MyTwitFace has to be a complement to PFritz21.NET, not a replacement. I'm not gonna give up on my website; I just won't have that.
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